The Hobbit

“Which is it, then? Are we talking and walking? Or walking and talking?” – Young Bilbo from The Office

It took me years to come around to Blu-Ray. While everyone else in the world seemed to be like, “Holy shit, this high definition is raping my eyeballs!!!!” I was all, like, “Holy shit, this looks like a cheap soap opera.” I held out as long as I could but, sooner or later, I caved, bought a player, started converting my bad ass DVD collection into a bad ass Blu-Ray collection. And, somewhere in the years in between, I’ve come around to high definition. Sure, sometimes it makes things look ugly, but it’s generally bright and crisp. So I can dig it.

Now, what does this have to do with The Hobbit? Well, if you weren’t living under a fucking rock, you might have heard that Peter Jackson decided to film the film in 48 frame rate, which basically turns the movie into high definition. It’s not playing in high frame rate in all cities, but, if you’ve ever considered yourself a fan of film as an art, I highly recommend you search out this version of the film.

Wait, what? You want me to review the fucking movie? Look, if you don’t know what The Hobbit is going to be like, you’re a fucking idiot. But. Fine. Whatever. The Hobbit is long. People talk and walk. They eat a lot. Then they talk some more. Then They walk some more. Then a monster shows up and they fight before talking and walking again. It’s exactly the film you expect it to be. The nerds are gonna be like, “Holy fuck-balls, I can’t believe they so faithfully showed all these characters talking and walking.” And regular people will probably be like, “Damn it, this is SO boring! All they do is talk and walk!!!”

Here’s by biggest, harshest criticism for an, admittedly, well made film: I looked at my watch. Now, I know a lot of people complained about how long and boring Lord of The Rings was, that nothing much happened. I think those people are idiots. Lord of the Rings is lean, fun, and thrilling. I never ever looked at my watch during a Lord of the Rings movie. I noticed, almost throughout the entire film, how fucking long The Hobbit seemed. That’s it.

OK, so back to the real conversation: high frame rate!!! Boo ya, fuckers, I’m a film nerd!!! So we’re gonna talk about crazy ass new technology!

I hear a lot of people complaining about high frame rate the same way I complained about Blu-Ray. “It looks cheap and fake.” I can see where they’re coming from. Some scenes, the kitchen scene in Blibo’s house for example, just didn’t work in high definition. The dwarfs start throwing plates around and, if the picture weren’t so sharp, it might look cool. But because the picture is so perfect the CGI plates look fake, like they’re floating above everyone. It’s clear no character is actually throwing a plate.

Yet, sometimes it hauntingly effective. Gollum’s cave, hell Gollum himself, is touch-worthy-real. And I think that’s what it comes down to, why I’m willing to be cautiously optimistic about this new technology. It’s going to force filmmakers to create better effects. They can’t half ass it anymore. If The Amazing Spider-Man were shot with high frame rate, the lizard would have had to been more realistic. You can tell, almost shot by shot, where Peter Jackson dumped his money. He focused on Gollum, not plates. And, any director working with CGI, will have to up their game to match. They’ll lose every excuse to cut corners with shitty CGI. And, frankly, I think that’s a good thing.

So, there ya go, the technology has ways to go, but it’s worth checking out. It’s a different experience that you can either bemoan or embrace. But, which ever side you land on, on thing is certain, any director who films in high frame rate will have to be amazingly talented.

The Hobbit Grade: B+

High Frame Rate Grade: B-

Killing Them Softly

“…So then I says to Mabel, I says, ‘Do I look like a pancake eater to you?'”- Robber Tyler Durden

I don’t want to sound like an old fuddy duddy. But after watching Killing Them Softly, after the events of this weekend, I get a little skived out by violence in the media. Now, of course, I love a good shoot out on film. I’m only human after all. But sometimes, as is the case with Killing Them Softly, they’re just so morally bankrupt that it’s hard to watch.

Killing Them Softly is a movie about these robbers who steal from another robber. So Tyler Durden Robber comes in and all like, “I’ve got to kill all these fuckers.” So he calls up Tony Soprano Robber and is like, “Help me kill all these fuckers.” The rest of the film follows Durden’s quest to kill all the robbers.

There’s no sex, which is a drag. But there’s a shocking amount of violence, which is rad. Except, fuck, the violence is shown with utter disregard for life and humans. If you watch it, and don’t clench your asshole tight out of awkwardness, you’re probably a sociopath.

Sometimes the director decides to slow down a shootout, so you can watch all the blood and violence in EXTREMEM SLOW MO BRO!!!!!! Other times it’s quicker, but equally bloody. Yet, in all cases, the violence is extremely nihilistic. In fact, the entire moral center of the film is completely nihilistic.

Really, that’s the worst fault of Killing Them Softly, I’d love to go off on tangents about how deep and meaningful it is, but it’s not. And there’s not a lot to say about it as a result.

Grade: B-

Anna Karenina

“We will fuck. But it will be on a stage and people will be watching. So don’t show your tits.” – Moustached Kick-Ass

If you’re making a movie that depends on style, well my friend, you gotta live or die by that style. Ride or die. Peddle to THE MAX!!! And various other platitudes that evoke extreme dedication, so on and so forth. You can’t just willy-nilly throw in all sorts of crazy ideas and steal different types of film making styles. Well, actually Quentin Tarantino does that just fine. But it takes a special kind of crazy to be Tarantino. Few directors can pull off a fucking stunt like him, Joe Wright, turns out, is not Quentin Tarantino.

You see, in Wright’s new film Anna Karenina, he sets up a VERY specific, admittedly cool, style flourish by having the a good chunk of the film take place on a stage. The entire movie is a play set in a theater. The streets of Moscow are backstage. The high society parties take place in front of an audience. And the sets shift and merge at a moment’s notice. Again, it’s all very pretty and very cool. The only problem is that Wright doesn’t stick with the idea that makes the film interesting.

So the story is all about this chick, named Anna…something. I forget the last name already. Anyway, Anna is stuck in a shitty marriage and starts banging this other dude. She gets her fuck on without any nudity, lame. And shit hits the fan and the husband’s feelings get hurt. But the plot is beside the point. This movie is 100% about how it was shot.

Wright really wants the audience to pay attention to how cool of a director he is. He’s basically a little kid going, “Look at me!!! Look at me!!! You don’t think I can turn dense Russian novel into a two hour film? Fuck you, I can, just look at me!!!!!!” I actually don’t begrudge him that. I like new things. Wright’s got a set of balls on him to make this movie. The problem is he doesn’t commit to it.

Toward the end of the film, the stage conceit is nearly completely abandoned. And there’s no logical thematic explanation for it. I’m sure we could argue for hours about Wright’s reasoning for this. But mostly it just seems like he got lazy and decided to shoot scenes outdoors instead of on a stage. It becomes hugely distracting, even more so when he decides to bring the stage back for the last couple of scenes.

In a lot of ways this all comes down to simple hubris. Joe Wright is and always has been an arrogant director. That famous tracking shot at Dunkirk in Atonement couldn’t have been made by anyone but an arrogant director. The jarringly edited fight scenes in Hannah weren’t made by a humble man either. It seems like the only reason Write decided to film Anna Karenina like a play is because, well, he could.

Tarantino can get away with being cocky and trying different styles because, well, he’s yet to make a bad film. Write has made two great films and three average ones. That’s not a great track record, really. Again, I’m glad he tried but maybe next time we can just show some tits and stop strutting around like a fucking peacock. Eh, Wright Old Boy?

Grade: B

The Sessions

Pretty much just two hours of naked bodies on top of each other. I can dig it.

I was balling chicks at the ripe old age of fifteen. It’s not a bragging right. It’s just how it is. Sometimes you’re born with the natural instincts to bend a chick over and take her to Ram City. Sometimes you’re not. So it’s kind of surreal and disorienting to get a view from the other side. The Forty Year Old Virgin? Didn’t make sense to me. Why didn’t he just fuck someone? The Sessions, on the other hand, makes more sense but still has me asking questions.

The Sessions is about this Dude who had polio and it ravaged his body and whatnot, so he can’t move that much. He’s been like this forever, basically, and hasn’t fucked a chick as a result. So he hires the Broad from Mad About You who moonlights as a sex therapist. Together they slowly work through the dude’s mental and physical issues to get him laid, like the baller he was born to be.

It’s a cute film. And, if it weren’t about sex, I would recommend talking your mamma  But, seriously, don’t. It could get awkward, bro. There’s titties, which rocks. And full muff shots too, double win. There’s even on screen orgasms, thank you. And it’s all handled tastefully enough but it’ll still make you feel weird if you’re watching it with your mom, so watch out.

My only real complaint is I feel like the writer and director may have had too broad of a focus and certain stories suffer as a result. Because it seemed like he wanted this film to be as much about Mad About You Chick as the Polio Dude. We follow her home a lot, see her lifestyle, and get to know her. But the story never commits to her like we do Polio Dude. It’s like half a movie is missing where the inner workings of her life might actually provide some context to her actions.

Which is also our lesson of the day, what are the odds? When you’re writing a story, character is paramount. Because the audience needs to know exactly why characters to certain things. If things are murky, or ill defined, your characters just end up looking like crazy people.

The Sessions never succumbs to that sin. I knew enough about Mad About You Broad to get the point but, still, sometimes I did wonder why she was the way she was. Her more than capable acting fills in most of the blanks the writer forgot to put in.

So, short and sweet, don’t take your mamma  Maybe take your chick. It is all about sex, you could get some after. And remember character is key.

DudeBro out.

Grade: B

The Silver Linings Playbook

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Somehow we’re expected to believe these two hotties can’t fuck randoms.

There’s no such thing as a shitty genre. There’s only shitty films. I say that because a lot of my dudebros scoff whenever I go see the latest chick flick. As if their taste is somehow more cultured because they’d rather watch Jason Statham over Sarah Jessica Parker. Believe me, there are just as many stupid ass action flicks as there are romantic comedies. Why men choose to ignore the shitty action films and focus on shitty romances is beyond me. (Sure, I love explosions as much as the next person but they’re boring when the explosions lack real tension.)

Just a tip: hating anything before you give it a shot makes you an idiot. Plus, if you watch a lot of romantic comedies, you can quote them and talk to chicks about them. It’s an instant panty dropper. Bottom line, if it comes down to watching the pumped up idiocy of Red Dawn, or the subtle intelligent charms of The Silver Linings Playbook, I’ll pick subtle charms over forced explosions any day of the damn week, son.

The Silver Linings Playbook stars that Hot Dude from Wedding Crashers as a not hot insane dude. We’re supposed to buy that his wife doesn’t want to fuck him, cheats on him, and sends him to the loony bin. But we all know he’s a hot stud. Once he gets out he starts getting stalked by Katniss Everdeen who’s equally crazy and hot. She fucks a lot of dudes, THAT I buy. Together they just act crazy for hours and it’s delightful.

Truly, the biggest obstacle in any romantic comedy is the chemistry of the leads. It’s a problem with a lot of romance in movies, actually. The two leads don’t ALWAYS have to bang, Hollywood. Stop forcing it. Because, when the two leads actually click, it’s an amazing thing to watch. Insane Wedding Crasher Dude and Stalker Katniss Everdeen work so great off of each other you’re counting the minutes until their genitals meet.

In fact, there’s not a lot to disparage here. Playbook makes film making look easy. To the point where you’re laughing and relating and wondering why Hollywood doesn’t make more movies this good. (Hint: it’s because film making is actually impossibly hard.)

And this is where the whole crux of today’s post has lead: stop hating on genres. You fucking idiot. Movie making is a rough capitalistic enterprise where few films actually stand the test of time. In a given year you’ll be lucky if two films will be remembered decades from now. It has nothing to do with genre either because It Happened One Night and the Philadelphia Story are still magical, fifty years later.

I’m not saying The Silver Linings Playbook will be remembered in the future. It’s impossible to guess such things. But it does stand as a crowning example of how romantic comedies can be better than anything with an explosion in it. So take your chick, you might get oral after, bro.

Grade: A